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INTRODUCTION PARAGRAPH. To fully grasp the importance of what Joseph Andre did we must understand what happened to innocent people in Belgium during the horrific events known as the Holocaust. Belgium was captured by Nazi Germany in the year 1940. The true beginning of the Holocaust was when on January 10, 1933 Adolf Hitler was named Chancellor of Germany. But it was only after the previous president, President Paul Von Hindenburg, passed and Hitler named himself supreme leader of Germany. Hitler created his propaganda while he was in jail for treason for his part in the Beer Hall Putsch. He called it “Mein Kampf” translated to My Struggles in english. In this he explained that his idea of “racial purity” in the German population which he called Aryan. He believed that this pure race needed space to expand and grow. After he was self-appointed the supreme leader of germany he tortured and killed many of his opponents to send the message of strength to the people living in Germany. Hitler began sending messages to Jewish people of Germany. Nazi rallies were held in public. Many rallies had symbolic acts behind them. For example the burning of books written by Jewish people and anyone who wasn’t considered racially pure by the Germans. The termination of Jews began officially on September 1939 when Germans began their occupation of Poland and forced thousands of Polish Jews into small uncomfortable ghettos in the city. Jewish people were forced to live in horrible conditions. There was no running water and no sewage system which made the area infested with numerous different types of diseases. Jewish people could not find jobs making it so that people died of starvation daily. This came to an end when in 1941 the German government transported hundreds of jewish people at a time from ghettos to death camps. The first mass gassing was held at a camp called Belzic where people who were considered the most detrimental to society were killed. These included young children who were not old enough to do any hard labor, old people who were to weak to do anything on their and the disabled who the Nazi party considered to be a waste of space. All of these people were not deemed ‘worthy” of life by the Germans. Woman and children were the next to be killed since they could not do any any hard manual labor. Everyone else was sent to labor camps where most would die of disease and starvation. In total about 6 million Jewish people were killed as a result of Nazi Propaganda.     Joseph André was a priest who lived in Namur, Belgium during the Nazi occupation and saved over 200 jewish children. In the year 1940 Germany invaded Belgium. There were 100,000 Jewish people who occupied Belgium during the time of the invasion, an estimated 20,000 were refugees who had previously run away from Germany to find a safe place to live. Germans began deporting people from Belgium to death camps and labor camps in Poland and Germany. Only men and teens who declared a profession were sent to labor camps but women and children were killed. The belgian government started a secret underground organization called  Comité de Défense des Juifs translated to the The Belgian Committee of the Defense of Jews. The organization worked with the Belgian resistance against Germany. The organization was focused on mainly children. Joseph Andre worked with the Comité de Défense des Juifs. He went to the organization and stated that the doors of his church would always be open for anyone who needed to escape. Joseph Andre was true to his words and would never turn anyone down when they came to him. He made arrangements for children to be taken to monasteries, convents and private homes where the children could stay. Many children would tell him about their experiences and how they had lost their parents to the cruelty of the Nazi army. Some children even told him how they thought it was somewhat a curse to be Jewish. After hearing these words from the young children Joseph Andre began encouraging them to continue practicing any part of their religion that they could recall their parents teaching them. He did anything he could to make sure that they did not forget about their heritage. On the day of Passover he helped the nuns who also stayed at the church make a traditional meal for the children living at the church. Joseph Andre also made the wellbeing of the children his top priority. Whenever any of the children fell ill he made sure they got the proper medical treatment by creating a fake name for them. Whenever one of the children missed their parents who were also in hiding he made sure they were able to see them. He spent most of his time finding homes for the kids often traveling to remote villages and other churches to find someone suitable to take in some of the children and even after he found someone he would visit the children to make sure they were ok. The threat of a Nazi raid at the church was constant, as he lived across from the gestapo. With the help of his neighbor he built an escape route in case any they were to have a Nazi raid in the middle of the night. After the gestapo becomes suspicious of what he is doing and threatens to imprison him Joseph Andre went into hiding until his hometown was liberated in 1944.  After the liberation of Belgium Joseph Andre continued his work and continued to help the children. He helped many of them look for their parents and let anyone who didn’t have anywhere else to go stay at the church up until 1945 when the remaining children were taken to a Jewish organization in 1945 a year after Belgium’s liberation. In 1967 Joseph Andre was honored in Israel. He received one of the highest honors of the country he was put on the List of Righteous and had a tree planted in the Garden of Righteous in Yad Vashem. He was able to see many of the children he had helped. He is remembered by many for his rescue work. He chose to live his life poor and was never greedy. He shared everything he had with the children and encouraged them to continue their faith. He never tried to convert them and openly accepted their faith.        

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